Alright my reading went downhill in March. I wanted to catch up and stay on track to meet my yearly goal and add a decent cushion for when I inevitably fall behind again. But between drafting my novella and slowly getting back into listening to podcasts while I work, my daily reading fell by the wayside. I hope to read more in April and in fact, there are plenty of books that I really, really, really want to read soon. That should inspire me to commit to this habit. But for now, here is a summary of the two books I read in March:
How To Be An Antiracist– A challenging read that forced me to pause and truly think of some of the ideas presented here. Part memoir, part educational\historical text, ‘How To Be An Antiracist’ talks about the many ways in which we live in a racist society and encourages readers to not commit to ‘not being a racist,’ but instead actively being an ‘antiracist.’ This text requires multiple reads to fully digest the different points that the author presents. I enjoyed the glimpses into the author’s past as he tries to work out why this country is the way it is. It’s a way to draw the reader in. We’re learning this new way of thinking alongside the author. It reminds us that we ALL have work to do to unlearn and work against the racist teachings that we’ve been inundated with since our childhood. There’s a section of the book that focuses on how other races can be racist towards white people. Admittedly, this is the section that was most challenging. We often hear how racism and white supremacy is a system that puts white people at the top and they hold the most power, therefore other races are unable to act racist towards white people. But Kendi states that there are powerful Black people, millionaires, CEOs, politicians, etc, who can impact racist policies and teachings. So to say ‘white people hold all the power’ is to purposefully ignore BIPOC who do hold political, economic or social power. (Of course I am GREATLY reducing the complexity of his argument here. But this is the overall message I took away from that chapter of the book.) I’m not sure if I’m fully convinced by his argument. Yes there are powerful BIPOC in the world and around this country, but the strength of power they hold is not the same as the strength of the power white people possess. This argument is one I would certainly return to when I read this book again. Still, this is a necessary read for people who want to ally themselves against a racist, oppressive system.
Pocket Workshop: Essays On Living As A Writer– A collection of essays by students and instructors of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop, this Pocket Workshop is a great resource for writers who are want/need the workshop experience, but can’t afford to attend a lengthy program. The essays in here are short and can be read in a few minutes. They offer practical advice and tips for writers and musings on the nature of writing and the writing process. I enjoyed reading this collection, but it wasn’t until I started to reach the last few essays that I genuinely appreciated this collection. There are plenty of essays I hope to revisit and study. Here’s a brief list of essays that stood out to me: ‘Writing in the Age of Distraction’ by Cory Doctorow, ‘Positive Obsession’ by Octavia E. Butler, ‘Matters of Life and Death’ by Susan Palwick. This collection landed in my hands at the right time. I’m in a weird place with my writing. I know I’ve grown as a writer and yet, I also know I still have a lot to learn about this career. These essays are meant for writers like myself, those who’ve been doing this for a bit, but still are eager and willing to learn and develop outside of their comfort zone. New writers can absolutely read this and come away with new insight on how to approach their craft.
I don’t want to jinx myself and say ‘Here’s a list of books I’ll definitely read in April.’ Instead, I’ll say there are some books I need to read for research purposes and there are plenty of books I want to read for fun. My nightstand will likely collapse from the weight of all the novels and novellas that I continue to pile onto it. And I’m seriously considering abandoning one of the books I’m currently reading because it’s not as engaging as I thought it would be. God willing, I’ll read *at least* five books next month!
If you’re interested in what podcasts I’m listening to, then I’ll start adding them at the end of these posts. For now I’ll focus on the shows, but in the future if there are specific episodes that struck a chord with me, I’ll list them. This month I started listening to a show called Three Black Halfings that a friend recommended. It follows three Black Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts and they talk about this classic game with a focus on diversity and how to improve gameplay and the overall story by committing to diversity. It’s fantastic and is now one of my favorite podcasts! I also started listening to Stuff You Missed In History Class. I’m a history nerd and I love learning about obscure parts of history, so this show fulfills that need. I’m also listening to Start With This, another show recommended by a friend. It’s lovely and is geared towards creatives who may struggle with their craft. They end each episode with assignments that will help jumpstart your creativity and imagination. I love starting my morning off with an episode from this show! And lastly, I caught up on The Read. It’s hilarious and real and it manages to make my day a bit better.
That’s all for this month! If you’re reading anything interesting, let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll add it to my TBR list!